BOYS SILVER VALLEY TOURNAMENT
Friday, Dec. 1
MULLAN PAVILION–– The Boys Silver Valley Tournament pitted the three local schools and Kootenai High School against each other to see who the top team in the land would be.
Kellogg 58, Wallace 37: The Wildcats got on top of the Miners early as they jumped to a 13-3 lead after one quarter of play.
The Miners were able to find their offense a little easier in the second frame, but Kellogg’s offense kept them comfortably ahead as they went into halftime on top 28-13.
Wallace had a few moments in the second half where they would rally on the Cats, but Kellogg pulled away for the win.
The Miners had some real trouble scoring the ball during the opening contest, shooting 12-for-47 from the field, but were able to hit their free throws to keep themselves scoring,
Tyler Gibbons led all scorers with 16 points for the Wildcats. Zack Welch led the Miners with 14 points.
Mullan 62, Kootenai 50: Mullan and Kootenai put on an offensive clinic in the nightcap game, but it was the Tigers who would pull away in the final quarter to advance to the championship game.
Mullan turned a sloppy first half performance into a 2-point halftime lead as they led 27-25. The third quarter saw the game tighten up as both teams took better care of the ball and showed off their prowess from deep.
Tiger Sheldon Trogden in particular paced Mullan in the second half, scoring 13 of his game-high 20 points in the latter half.
Kootenai had their own answer though in the form of Gage Maitland and Tristin Usdrowski, who both scored 17 points for the Warriors.
Mullan’s balanced scoring was enough to push them over the top for the win.
Saturday, Dec. 2
Wallace 75, Kootenai 37: The Miners looked desperate for a win after their loss to the Wildcats, and the Kootenai Warriors looked like they weren’t going to give them that satisfaction for the first quarter and a half.
Kootenai relentlessly attacked the Miners and found themselves at the free throw line, where they shot 16-for-21 during the first half.
But with four minutes remaining in the half and the scored tied at 26, something changed.
And things got UGLY for the Warriors.
Wallace rattled off 19 quick points in the last four minutes of the second quarter and led 45-29 at the half.
The Miners didn’t let up in the second half either, scoring at will and forcing multiple turnovers to complete their 49-11 run to end the game.
Coach Corey Miller thought his squad recovered well from the previous night and really made a statement against the Warriors.
“I thought we played pretty tight for most of the weekend and had some early season jitters,” Miller said. “I thought Hunter Gust had an outstanding night on Saturday against Kootenai, he really dominated inside. We need to continue to get better on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Miners were led in scoring by Gust who finished with 21 points. Kootenai was led by Usdrowski who had 15 points.
Kellogg 67, Mullan 54: The Mullan Tigers weren’t interested in any sort of narrative that they didn’t belong on the floor with the Wildcats; in fact the case could be made they didn’t lose to the Wildcats, but simply ran out of time.
The Tigers wouldn’t go away, which is something that Kellogg has not experienced a lot of from Silver Valley competition in quite some time.
Kellogg opened the game on fire offensively taking a quick 22-11 lead over Mullan, and then they extended that lead to 35-19 by halftime.
The second half was different, though. Mullan attacked Kellogg’s defense with relentless driving which resulted in points, offensive rebounds, or wide open kick outs for uncontested 3-pointers.
And on the other end, the Tigers simply waited for the Wildcats on defense which effectively killed the Wildcats best weapon, their transition game.
The Tigers cut the lead to nine at one point, but Kellogg was able to hold them off and get an extremely hard fought win over the game Tiger team.
“Hats off to Mullan. They came out and played extremely hard,” Kellogg coach Jeff Nearing said. “I thought Mullan played Kellogg basketball better than we did tonight.”
Mullan coach Dan Fritz waxed sentimental on the game as he has been involved in the lives of the kids on both teams and was extremely proud of what the night meant for him.
“What made last night so cool for me was that I taught most of the kids that were on the floor, from both Kellogg and Mullan. Tyler Gibbons, Chase Jerome, Cade Finlay, Hogan Samuelson, Ryan Morgan, and Grant Nearing,” Fritz said. “I've also taught most of the Mullan kids with the exception of a couple newcomers and the seniors. In fact, the two native Mullan seniors, Gryphon Todd and Sheldon Trogden weren't taught by me but were taught by my dad in his last year in Mullan. While Dad was finishing up a thirty-year career educating at John Mullan Elementary, I was watching that group of Pinehurst kids from afar, put in three-plus hours a night after school in the gym. They played constantly and everywhere starting when they were in the second grade. It was awesome.
“I ran the intramural program at Pinehurst Elementary during lunch and recess and taught those boys how to run routes playing football in the fall and spring and playing "free throw" in the winter. I knew then that they had a special group of kids. It is cool to see that they have kept the majority of them together and that their plan has worked. I hope they reach their ultimate goal in a couple months.
“The night was made even more special because of how proud of my team I was. There is no quit in my boys and Coach Spooner and I see a special group of our own in Mullan. One we have been waiting for for years. It is finally time to stop saying the what if’s and could be’s, and it was neat to see my boys compete at such a high level. I couldn't have been more proud of how they refused to throw in the towel, cutting it to single digits towards the end.
“So all in all, last night was pretty special for me. With all of the players that I spent a year or more as a part of an educational family, with my dad behind the bench and my son managing on the end of it, with the atmosphere that I grew up playing in 20 years ago, it was a very rewarding night and one I won't soon forget.”
Chase Jerome finished a game high 17 points for the Wildcats. Skye Gallaway, Gryphon Todd, and Seth Dechand each had 12 points for the Tigers.
KELLOGG GIRLS BASKETBALL
Tuesday, Nov. 28
Kellogg 52, Wallace 18: The Wildcats showed off their pouncing skills this past Tuesday night as they turned a big first half into a runaway 52-18 win over the visiting Wallace Miners.
Kellogg’s full-court zone press and stout defense made advancing the ball a near impossible task for the Miners who trailed 31-11 at the halftime.
The third quarter opened with the Wildcats going on a 10-0 run before Jen Hayman was able to get Wallace on the board.
Kellogg once again relied on their athletic forwards, particularly Kaitlin Senteney and Kaili Cates who ran and slashed their way to 13 and 8 points respectively.
Wildcat guard Erin Van Hoose had herself a night for Kellogg as well, pitching in 10 points and making sure that her squad always kept control of the ball.
Wallace was led by Hayley Oertli who finished with five points.
“We executed our game plan pretty well,” KHS coach Jana Nearing said. “Run and run and run and play man to man defense. They came out and played hard, and unselfish while making really good passes.”
Like any coach with postseason aspirations Nearing didn’t let her team off without finding an area that she feels needs some work.
“Our man-to-man defense needs some work,” Nearing said. “We need to work on getting around screens and denying cutters. But I think we could work and improve everything that we do.”
Nearing spoke about her team’s depth and the ability she has to continuously throw players on the floor who can competently run the offense and defense.
“We have a whole bench-full of girls who can be rotated in at any time,” Nearing said. “We don’t really have weak spot there. I’m really proud of them for what they did tonight. We have great attitudes and we play really well together and are showing real work ethic and that is something that is going to help us continue to get better.”
WALLACE GIRLS BASKETBALL
Thursday, Nov. 30
Lakeside 51, Wallace 33: The Wallace girls basketball team was probably hoping to walk away with a win for their first game on Kirby Krulitz court this season, but the Lakeside Knights had other plans.
The Lady Miners dropped their home opener last Thursday night 51-33 due mostly to a poor showing in the second half.
“I thought we had a good first half, and we just ran out of spunk in the second half,” head coach Nichole Farkas said. “We’ll have to have a little more defensive effort (in future games).”
Wallace scored 18 points in a solid first half and they only trailed Lakeside by six going into the second.
This is when the Knights turned on the jets.
Lakeside extended its lead to 10 points and held that margin over the Miners on and off through most of the third.
By the fourth, Wallace looked to be out of gas and saw their opponents extend their already substantial lead.
Offensive opportunities certainly presented themselves for the home team as they took several shots, but as the clock wound down- shooting percentages went down as well.
Most of the Miner’s offense came from junior Hayley Oertli, who led the team with 11 points (eight in the first half) on the night.
“Hayley Oertli had a great first half,” Farkas stated.
On the defensive side of things, Lakeside simply muscled out the Wallace defenders with strong physical play several times throughout the night.
As the game got closer to the end, effort on the backcheck also regressed.
Farkas stated after the game that, “we’ll be working on (the defensive shortcomings) and regrouping. We’ve got a week before our next game, so we’ll work some things out.”
She was also happy with some of the effort she saw from players who normally do not see much playing time.
“The kids coming in off the bench were scrappy,” she said. “I thought Megan Morin had a good game — she’s been improving steadily throughout the season.”